Modular organization of frequency integration in primary auditory cortex

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2000;23:501-29. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.23.1.501.


Two fundamental aspects of frequency analysis shape the functional organization of primary auditory cortex. For one, the decomposition of complex sounds into different frequency components is reflected in the tonotopic organization of auditory cortical fields. Second, recent findings suggest that this decomposition is carried out in parallel for a wide range of frequency resolutions by neurons with frequency receptive fields of different sizes (bandwidths). A systematic representation of the range of frequency resolution and, equivalently, spectral integration shapes the functional organization of the iso-frequency domain. Distinct subregions, or "modules," along the iso-frequency domain can be demonstrated with various measures of spectral integration, including pure-tone tuning curves, noise masking, and electrical cochlear stimulation. This modularity in the representation of spectral integration is expressed by intrinsic cortical connections. This organization has implications for our understanding of psychophysical spectral integration measures such as the critical band and general cortical coding strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping